Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa



The 4th floor Inner Chamber is the repository of the Sacred Buddha Tooth. The gold Sacred Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa is the center of focus in this magnificent and elegant room. There is a Vairocana Mandala above this Stupa, with 36 dragons below it. Gilt flower garland offering lamps and a jewel netting cordons the ceiling. There are 20 Heavenly Devas keeping watch and the floor is lined with gold tiles.





Sacred Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa in BTRTM


Beginning from the top, there is a large crystal above 7 parasols. There are many jeweled bangles from Myanmar around the last parasol. The main dome of the stupa has a reverse lotus at the top. Below this are the 189 sets of Stupa gems collection of emeralds and rubies. Below this are the 35 Confession Buddhas. The dome ends on a circular base with engraved floral motifs and sits on a square platform featuring the scenes from the life os the Buddha.

About Sacred Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa



Stupa

The Sacred Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa statue is modeled after two similar Gandharan period stone stupas at the museums of New Delhi and Calcutta. The dome is crowned by the 7-tiered parasol depicting royalty and the cosmic connection between heaven and earth.









Buddha Maitreya

The Buddha Maitreya at the Stupa doorway adopts the Bhadrasana (auspicious) posture (European seating position), with each feet on a lotus, symbolic of royalty, on the Varjasana (diamond) throne, as if all ready to descend to this world, to fulfill his destiny as the Future Buddha. Both hands are in the Dharmacakra (Turning of the Wheel) mudra, symbolising His Teachings to sentient beings in the heaven. A round aureole radiates behind his head. The Maitreya required 15 kgs of gold.











Stupa Gems

According to the Lotus Sutra, there was a seven-gem studded stupa appearing in front of Buddha while He preached the Lotus Sutra. It rose from the ground growing towards the sky and having 5 thousand railings, thousands of rooms, with uncountable number of umbrellas, with many treasures like gold, silver, pearls, roses, etc and fragrance from the four sides.






Inspired by the sutra, the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa is decorated with gem stones such as rubies, emerald, etc. Venerable Shi Fa Zhao specially engaged overseas craftsmen, sorting out the ruby, emerald and diamonds for the design of these Stupa gems. These specially crafted gems collection were inserted into positions on the gold Stupa. Together they enhance and beautify the Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa.

The Sponsorship of each stupa gems collection was $3,000; with 201 sets fully adopted.

35 Confession Buddhas

On the first tier of the Stupa from the base, lie the bas reliefs of the intricately carved Thirty-Five Confession Buddhas in pure gold. These Thirty-Five Confession Buddha are Buddha that had gained enlightenment before Buddha Sakyamuni.

They are recorded in the Definite Vinaya Sutra translated by Dharmaraksa, a renowned Indian scholar monk and actually derived from the Upali Section of the Maharatnakuta Sutra. Amoghavajra retranslated the pertinent portion of the text and called it the ‘Worship and Penitential Text of the 35 Buddhas’ Names’. Mahayana practitioners who frequently perform the worship and penitence during the six times of the day (i.e. dawn, noontime, dusk, early night, midnight and late night) will achieve great merits. They will be cleansed of karmic obstructions and serious guilt, and will attain whatever samadhi, deliverance and spiritual level they seek in this life.

The 35 Confession Buddhas are as follows:

1. Namah Sakyamuni Buddha;2. Namah Vajra Indestructible Buddha;
3. Namah Precious Light Buddha;4. Namah Venerable Naga-King Buddha;
5. Namah Zealous Army Buddha;6. Namah Zealous Joy Buddha;
7. Namah Precious Fire Buddha;8. Namah Precious Moonlight Buddha;
9. Namah Buddha Who Shows No Foolishness;10. Namah Precious Moon Buddha;
11. Namah Undefiled Buddha;12. Namah Buddha of Valiant Giving;
13. Namah Purity Buddha;14. Namah Buddha of Pure Giving;
15. Namah Varuna Buddha;16. Namah Water Deva Buddha;
17. Namah Strong Virtue Buddha;18. Namah Sandalwood Merit Buddha;
19. Namah Infinite Light-scooping Buddha;20. Namah Luminous Virtue Buddha;
21. Namah Sorrow-free Virtue Buddha;22. Namah Narayana Buddha;
23. Namah Merit Flower Buddha;24.Namah Buddha of Supernatural Powers of Pure Light-play;
25 Namah Buddha of Supernatural Powers of Lotus Light-play;26. Namah Wealth Merit Buddha;
27. Namah Virtuous Thought Buddha; 28. Namah Buddha of Good Names and Merits;
29. Namah Buddha of Imperial Red-fire Flags;30.Namah Buddha of the Adept Wanderer’s Virtue;
31. Namah Victor of Combats Buddha;32. Namah Adept Wanderer Buddha;
33. Namah Buddha of All-encompassing August Virtues;34 Namah Precious Flower Wanderer Buddha;
35. Namah Precious Lotus Peace Buddha of the Balaka Tree King.


The Sponsorship of each Confession Buddha is fully adopted.

The Gold Panels of Eight Aspects of the Buddha’s Life

At the sides of the Stupa square platform are 8 gold panels with engravings depicting the various scenes of Sakyamuni Buddha’s life, starting with the Dream of Queen Maya and ending with the Great Parinirvarna. These panels are in traditional Gandharan style of the period.

The scenes of the Buddha’s life from beginning to end, revolving around his Enlightenment are known as the Eight Aspects of the Enlightenment Story (or the “Eight Aspects of Manifestation”) Sutra, with His Enlightenment being the most important aspect.


1. Descent from Tusita:

Having made His abode in the Tusita Heaven for 4,000 years, the Bodhisattva Prabhapala (i.e., the Buddha prior to Enlightenment) rode upon a white six-tusked elephant and incarnated in our world. He entered the womb of Queen Maya at the residence of King Suddhodana of the Kapilavatthu kingdom. 


2. Birth:

As Queen Maya’s delivery date drew near, she had to return to her maternal home to give birth in accordance with the customs of the time. While passing by the Lumbini garden on her way, she gave birth to Prince Siddhartha Gautama (this being the secular name of the Buddha Sakyumuni) under an asoka tree. Nine nagas spewed water to bathe the newborn Prince, who immediately walked 7 steps, pointed at heaven with one finger, and at earth with another, saying, “I alone am Supreme, above and below heaven.” 


3. Life in the Palace:

The Prince studied various arts and books when he was young. Although he lived in prosperity and nobility, his mind was constantly serene. Once, after wandering through the four gates and seeing the old, the sick, the dead, and some spiritual practitioners, he began to have the desire to leave the secular world behind and pursue spiritual truth. 


4. Renunciation:

The Prince’s desire to renounce the secular life was so strong that King Suddhodana could not persuade him otherwise or stop him. Accompanied by his attendant Chandaka, he eventually rode a horse out of the city. He shaved off the hair on his head and face, put on a sramana’s robe, sent Chandaka back to the palace, and subsequently went to the snowy mountains to perform austerities. 


5. Subduing the Mara:

After 6 years of austerities, the Prince emerged from the snowy mountains. He took a bath in the Nairanjana river, ate some milk rice offered by a herdswoman, and sat down cross-legged with upturned soles under a bodhi tree, vowing never to get up again until he has attained perfect wisdom. Even though Mara sent his daughters to undermine the Prince’s spiritual aspiration, they were subdued by him. 


6. Attaining Enlightenment:

The Prince went into a deep meditative state under the Bodhi tree, exploring the Truth concerning the Universe and life. Finally, on the night of the 8th day of the 12th month, he looked upon a bright star and attained Enlightenment. Having acquired unsurpassable Perfect and Universal Wisdom, he became the Buddha Sakyamuni. 


7. Turning the Wheel of Dharma:

After His Enlightenment, the Buddha Sakyumuni gave sermons for 49 years, 3 Turns of the Law-Wheel, teaching the Four Noble Truths, Twelve Nidanas, 37 Bohhyangas, three Dharma Signs and Eightfold Noble Path, etc. to release all the sentient beings. During His teachings, He also set up the Buddhist organization, namely the Sangha - the Bhiksus, the Bhiksunis; and at the same time gave the resident devotees(Kulapati) equivalent status. With the increasing numbers of resident devotees, they became the main force in society to support Buddhism. 


8. Maha Parinirvana:

When Sakyamuni Buddha turned 80 years old, He passed into Nirvana between two trees in a sala grove in the rural area of Kusinara city. After Nirvana, His Teachings were recorded and published by his disciples, called Sutras, Pitakas and Sastras; a total of 12 collections, and it became the most important records of civilization for mankind; like the torch of the wisdom, brightening up generations to generations and guiding countless lives towards deliverance.


Asoka Towers



There are 4 Asoka pillars (columns, towers) with the Asoka lions at the top, at each corner of the platform. The lion stands for King Asoka’s aristocracy and imperial power. The lion stands at four corners, with the roar of the lions akin to the propagation of Buddha Dharma to all directions, reaching far and wide.






About Stupas

A stupa (Sanskrit: स्तूप, stūpa; Sinhalese: ස්ථූපය; Pāli: थुप "thūpa", literally meaning "heap"; ) is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship. Stupas are an ancient form of mandala.


Development of BTRTM Sacred Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa

The Sacred Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa represents the constant abiding of the inconceivable Dhammakaya, the Buddha’s holy Mind. To offer precious gold to the Buddha’s sacred tooth relic is to accord Him the highest respect and devotion. Every kind thought and act of giving brings incredible karmic results, as making offerings to the Buddha is highly meritorious. As stated in ‘Eight Aspects of Manifestation’ sutra, “whosoever makes offerings to the sacred relics will be born in the heavenly realms and be liberated from all suffering”.


Design

Venerable Shi Fa Zhao felt strongly that as the Buddha was form Indian that the Sacred Stupa should be of Indian design. After much research, he decided upon a combination of 2 ancient Gandharan stone stupas at New Delhi and Calcutta museums.


   



Ven Shi FaZhao was introduced to Professor Amnuay Kantian from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiangmai University, Thailand. After the briefing by Ven Shi Fa Zhao, he then developed the first Stupa design.






The design of the Maitreya Buddha was based on the Buddha from Candi Mendut, near Borobudur, Indonesia.


The design of the 8 panels about the Life of the Buddha in Gandhara art was quite challenging. Much research and books were collected to develop accurately these stories in Gandhara art. We used extensively the detailed line drawings from a Japanese translation of the book, “Gandhara” by Francine Tissot, Librarie Adrien Maisonneuve, 1985, ISBN 4-8087-0605-9 C3071, printed by Tokyo Bijutsu, 1993. Extensive discussions and numerous drafts were made before final production.





Model

The drawings were used to developed a small model, which was shown to the public during the 2004 Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Exhibition at Singapore Expo. Thereafter, we commenced collected gold for the construction of the Stupa.











Collection of Gold

The gold collected was from the devotees and public’s personal contribution of gold in the form of rings, chains, bars; and any other precious jewellery such as gemstones or jade. The quantity is not important. What matters is the motivation of giving. The numerous jewelry collected was then sent for refining to 99.99 pure gold kilo bars





Search for construction company

After which, we approached many craftsmen in Thailand, Nepal and China, but due to the size of the Stupa, most were not keen. Fortunately we met Mr Shi Seng Bing of Shanghai Kangyu Enterprise, who was interested and determined to develop the Stupa. After many exhaustive rounds of deliberations, presentations, negotiations and draft drawings, the final design was approved.
















Shanghai Kangyu Enterprise developed a full scale model which was unveiled to Ven Shi FaZhao in October 2005.







Gold-melting Ceremony

A special on-site Stupa blessing ceremony and the gold melting ceremony to mark the commencement of Stupa construction was held on 14 March 2006, attended by numerous eminent monks form China, donors and staff.

During the Gold-melting Ceremony for the Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa, Ven. Shi Fazhao spoke in the Chairman’s podium in person. He gave thanks for the Buddha’s blessings and the support of many, and prayed that the forging of the Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa would be a success. Merits gained from this were to be directed back to our countries, so that our nations may be strong and prosperous, and the people living in peace and happiness.






Spring is the time for planning for the year ahead, as well as the season of beautifully blooming flowers, great weather and picturesque natural scenery. In order to pray for the smooth completion of the forging of the Buddha Tooth Relic Stupa, Ven. Shi Fazhao led a group to visit the Shanghai company that is carrying out the work. He conducted an on-site ritual of blessing and purification on 14th March 2006. More than a hundred monastic guests were invited. In addition, an equally large group of devotees who went along did not miss out on the joy of the Dharma in this either.





With the preparations for the construction, the gold bars were then specially shipped under international security firm Brink’s to Shanghai Kangyu Enterprise foundry and used to construct the Stupa to enshrine the Sacred Buddha’s Tooth.


At Shanghai Kangyu foundry, a dedicated special room was developed for the production of the Stupa. The craftsmen were specially selected with strict security and quality control procedures established.


Final adjustments were made to the various parts of the Stupa, including the Buddha Maitreya statue.







With the fine-tuning by Ven Shi Fa Zhao, a second full size model was made and shipped to Singapore in January 2006 and placed at our Sago Lane exhibition site.







The Stupa Sumeru Vault sealing ceremony was held on 1 October 2006 to prepare for the arrival of the Stupa.








With the speedy completion, Ven Shi FaZhao and numerous Sangha attended the blessing ceremony for the acceptance of the completed Stupa at Shanghai on 27 November 2006.






The Stupa was then packed for shipping to Singapore, arriving on 9 December 2006, where it was lifted onto the fourth floor of the Temple in a very complex operation involving two 50-tonnes cranes.









The Shanghai Kangyu team then spent 5 days to install the Stupa. The Stupa was consecrated on 24 December 2006, after which the renovation works for the Inner Chamber proceeded.







The final Stupa weighed 3.5 tonnes consisting of a main structure of stainless steel, a bronze skeleton and a skin of pure gold. It is 3.5 meters in height. The total amount of gold used to build this stupa was 320 kgs.






Stupa Consecration Ceremony

This was held on 24 December 2006 to install the 35 Confession Buddhas and Stupa Gems and was the first time that many of our devotees had seen the Stupa. Many were awed and inspired.















Stupa Blessing Ceremony

As part of our preparations for the Official Opening, from 1 – 7 May 2007 we conducted a 24-hour blessing ceremony.










Official Opening of BTRTM

BTRTM Sacred Buddha’s Tooth Relic Stupa Ceremonies

Every year, for 3 days, during the Chinese New Year and Vesak Day celebrations, the Sacred Buddha Tooth is received by President and Abbot, Venerable Shi Fa Zhao from the Sacred Stupa and place on a special platform close to the glass, for the public to have a special opportunity for veneration.


Bibliography:
1. John S. Strong, Relics of the Buddha, Princeton University Press, 1948, ISBN 0-691-11764-0,
2. Borobudur, Prayer in Stone, Editions Didier Millet, 1990, ISBN 2-87868-004-9, pgs 40, 41
3. Francine Tissot, Gandhara, Librarie Adrien Maisonneuve, 1985, ISBN 4-8087-0605-9 C3071, printed by Tokyo Bijutsu, 1993.


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